In of the three Fortinbras is the

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet revenge is a motif that appears throughout the play. Multiple characters in Hamlet set out to get revenge for similar reasons. Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras all need to avenge their father’s death. Unlike Hamlet and Laertes, Fortinbras is able to get his revenge without killing anybody. Also, Out of the three Fortinbras is the most well off at the end of the play. Shakespeare’s purpose for writing this revenge tragedy is to show how people who use violence to get revenge are their own downfall.

   To start, Hamlet is one character who uses violence in order to execute revenge. In the play, Hamlet is expected to get revenge on Claudius. Overall Hamlet does a very poor job of executing his revenge, but one part where he actually attempts to do so is in act 3 scene 4. In this scene, Hamlet blindly stabs into tapestry while he is in his mom’s bedroom. Hamlet hopes to kill Claudius but instead, he ends up killing Polonius.

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Because Hamlet unintentionally kills Polonius this drives Laertes to avenge his father by killing Hamlet. In the end, Hamlet is the main cause of his own downfall because he tries to kill his father’s murderer. Another character who’s vengeance causes his own demise is Laertes. After Hamlet kills Polonius, Laertes is furious and immediately wants to get revenge on his murderer. Claudius ends up telling Laertes that Hamlet killed Polonius and they devise a plan to kill Hamlet.

Their plan includes Laertes killing Hamlet with a poison-tipped sword in a friendly fencing duel. When Laertes gets to the duel he successfully kills Hamlet with his sword, but his sword also ends up killing him,  “Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric. I am justly killed with mine own treachery.” Shakespeare uses Laertes’ death as another example of someone’s violent revenge causing their own downfall.  In contrast to Laertes and Hamlet, Fortinbras is able to get his revenge without killing anyone or using violence. Before the play starts the background information is given that Hamlet’s father killed Fortinbras’ father. In order to avenge his father, Fortinbras assembles an army and plans to regain control of Denmark. When Fortinbras arrives to retake the throne Claudius and Hamlet are already dead so he does not have to kill anyone to assume the throne.

Fortinbras is the only one in the play to live after executing his revenge. He is also the only one to not use violence in order to achieve his revenge. Shakespeare tries to use Fortinbras’ revenge as an example of a non-violent revenge that ends up not harming the avenger. Throughout Hamlet Shakespeare uses multiple different acts of revenge to show that using violence is not a good way to get revenge. His purpose in writing Hamlet is not to say that killing people to get revenge is bad, but rather if you are trying to get revenge do not use pathetic ways of doing so.

Everyone can relate to the motif of revenge in Hamlet which is part of what makes this play one of the best of all time. Also, Shakespeare’s lesson about revenge can apply to anyone across all time periods which is what makes this play’s theme so relevant even today.


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